PSHS students’s Summer internship at the Environmental Science Department and Manila Observatory

Meeting of PSHS students and faculty representatives of SOSE and Manila Observatory

From left to right: Dr. Quirino Sugon (PS), Godfrey Robenio (PSHS), Alyssa Inocencio (PSHS), Dr. Gemma Narisma (PS), Nina Domingo (PSHS), Francesca Gaviola (PSHS), Marivi Cabason (SOSE), and Dr. Emilyn Espiritu (ES)

Last April 10, students from Philippine Science High School (PSHS) met with the faculty representatives of the Department of Physics (PS), the Department of Environmental Science (ES), and Manila Observatory (MO) for the Summer Internship Program.  They met at the Dean’s Conference Room in the Science Complex.  There were four students from PSHS-Quezon City: (1) Francesca Angela D. Gaviola, (2) Godfrey Angelo R. Robenio, (3) Alyssa D. Inocencio, and (4) Nina Gabriel G. Domingo.  And there was one student from PSHS-Clark: Beatrice Perlas.  The faculty representatives were Dr. Emilyn Q. Espiritu (ES), Dr. Gemma Teresa Narisma (PS), and Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr. (PS).  Also present in the meeting was Ms. Marivi Cabason as the representative of the Dean of the School of Science and Engineering (SOSE).

Ateneo Physics News (APN) interviewed key personnel who were directly involved in the internship program.  APN also interviewed one of the students.  Below are their responses:

1. Khervin Cheng Chua, Researcher, Regional Climate Systems, Manila Observatory. Khervin is finishing his masters from University of Hawaii. His field is on meteorology.

We are suppose to have three interns in the Regional Climate Systems. But after talking to them, they all wanted to go through training. I am doing MS Excel work and data analysis. They wanted to learn that. Our plan is to teach them techniques in MS Excel an hour every morning or hand them over to Genie Lorenzo to work on her stuff. For now they do data analysis—that’s the plan this week. Tomorrow, when they finally choose the data set, they will work on the MS Excel techniques they have been learning. So far, I taught them how to manipulate data in Excel. We have gone through Excel programming: how to do stuff manually and use formulas to make it faster. Eventually we will do scripts to make computations really fast, so that we can process thousands and thousands of rows of data. They can choose between two projects.

There is a black bug infestation in some provinces. They are suppose to present on where and when these infestations occur. We have PAGASA data that we could process and check the climate during those periods in time. We also have historical data from 1901 at Manila Observatory. They will clean the data. Processing ideally starts next week. We can get three of them to do graphing and teach them plotting philosophies. That is, how to best visualize different types of data. Is it better to use line graph, bar graph, or frequency curve? We’ll play around with these the whole of next week. On the last four weeks, we they shall go back to their data sets and apply graphing techniques. That’s a lot of computer work.

 Genie Lorenzo does the operational stuff for the students. You may like to talk to her. I just handle them an hour each day. Most of the time they are with Genie.

Genie Lorenzo with the PSHS students at the Library of Manila Observatory

Genie Lorenzo (leftmost) teaching PSHS students Python programming at the Library of Manila Observatory

2. Genie Lorenzo, Researcher, Urban Air Quality Program, Manila Observatory

At the moment my work is to test the weather stations to make sure that the data is going into the database; I also prepare the database for the 30 weather stations that we are getting soon in the next months. In the past couple of months, what I have been doing is just those things.

We have the Davies Vantage Pro weather stations. They are commercially available and they perform well: they follow that standards of NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology) in US. What is nice about them is that if you have a station, a router, and a power source, you will be able to send data through the internet right away in real time. We shall deploy 30 stations in around Manila to help in early warning and traffic management. The modelers in the Regional Climate Systems of Manila Observatory will also benefit from the dense network for mesoscale modeling.

I made the Philippine Science High School interns go through the process that I am doing. The first week is installation of the weather station for testing. We are testing it here in MO to check for correlations. They shall set up the weather station themselves. The week after that, we shall start with data processing. Khervin taught them how to do the Excel stuff. Next time, they will learn how a tipping bucket measures the volume in millimeters of rain. We are a sort of going through the meteorological parameters one at a time. Last week they were looking at wind data. They began with vector averages of wind speed and directions. For us to automate this, we need to write a script. They learned Python just to do the averaging. After wind parameters, we shall do next solar radiation and temperature.

At the end of their internship, I wish them to acquire three skills: (1) Understand how the instruments measure the particular parameters: wind, rain, solar radiation, and temperature; (2) proces the data using MS Excel and Python; (3) see the larger scheme of things.

We are deploying in certain areas around Metro Manila. The other day we took a field trip around the campus. We gazed at the mountains. I pointed to the direction of the water shed where we deployed the rain gauges. We went to Ateneo High School and saw the Marikina Valley. This allowed them to appreciate the flow of water from the mountains.

3. Godfrey Angelo R. Robenio, PSHS Student.

What we are doing right now is that we are programming to find the wind direction given data in degrees using python. The first time we did was to use Cartesian coordinates. North is 90 degrees. This is wrong: it should be zero degrees. We also got confused with clockwise and counterclockwise directions. There is also wrong data that we have to correct by hand. Then we have to program. We just started to learn Python last week. There were many bugs.

We are incoming fourth year. We want to be scientists. Probably, I’ll take Molecular Biology or Genetics. But in this summer elective, I want to learn something that is not related to Biology. I am happy I learned techniques that we can probably use, such as Excel and Python programming.

I definitely recommend that other PSHS take the internship here.

Abigail Favis

Abigail Favis (ES)

4. Abby Favis, Faculty, Environmental Science Department

We have two students from Philippine Science High School (PSHS) this summer. One from Quezon City campus and the other from Clark. They are Beatrix Perlas and Nina Domingo.

We have no current projects this summer. But we are doing our laboratory class in environmental management. We are taking tree inventory and herbarium samples, and identify the significance of the tree species. The students also help in analyzing traffic data. We are doing statistical analysis of traffic in terms of car volume flow for the campus. We are doing mainly these three activities.

My impression is that they are very diligent and responsible. They do the work very well, sometimes even ahead of the college students. They are very pleasant to work with. They don’t complain. They are courteous and disciplined. They already have a training in environmental science. They are familiar with ecology and what we are studying. They know statistics and they help us with data processing. I hope they would enroll here.

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About ateneophysicsnews
Physics News and Features from Ateneo de Manila University

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